The Day After He Left for Iraq: A Story of Love, Family, and Reunion

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The emotional true story of a family separated by war. We feel for the men and women who are risking their lives at war, but what of the families they’ve left behind? In gorgeous prose, a military wife describes a year in her family’s life—a year in which her husband leaves for war and returns, and prepares again to leave. Melissa Seligman’s son is a newborn, and her daughter, a toddler, when her husband ships out to Iraq. Starting with that day, and focusing on the months that follow, she movingly describes the balancing act her life has become: being a loving mother to her young children, with the haunting knowledge that her husband, their father, could be killed at any time. Seligman doesn’t hesitate to express her inner pain. She watches her daughter acting out in fury. Then there’s her own anger. Ultimately, though, she comes to accept her life and appreciate the strength and determination of her loving children and husband. It’s a book to read in one sitting, and to think about for years.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Army wife and first-time author Seligman plumbs the depths of depression and despair in this frank memoir of coping with her husband David's deployment to Iraq. Besieged by feelings of abandonment, anger and resentment, the author panics when confronted with the "burdensome" responsibility of being a single parent, dealing with soiled diapers and her daughter's separation anxiety. When her husband re-enlists without consulting her, she feels betrayed and her despair intensifies until she learns to "function like a robot." David's homecoming does not spell relief; the author continues to feel "dead inside" and is "unwilling to sympathize" with David's postdeployment issues: his chest pain, anxiety and nightmares. With the passage of time, the author begins to "feel normal" again and makes steady progress in "learning how to deal with" the separation inherent in military life. Despite the pervasive self-pity that suffuses Seligman's account-and a self-centeredness that might put off some readers-her memoir offers valuable insight into the often heavy and anonymous burden shouldered by military families. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

An army wife, a mother of two, and a freelance writer, Seligman begins this book with her husband's deployment to Iraq, weeks after their second child was born. In short chapters grouped into the five stages of grief (bracketed by "Death" and "Recovery"), Seligman shares her struggles during his absence. There is plenty of raw emotion here-anger, sadness, terror, loneliness-but there is also strength, determination, and even hope. Seligman is honest and vulnerable, sharing her ambivalence toward the war, her impatience with her daughter's grief, and her fear of never reconnecting with her husband. She never overwhelms us with her pain but writes in the conversational and open tone she might use with a trusted friend. And by the end of the book, Seligman does feel like a friend. She invites readers into her heart to share her hopes, fears, weariness, and wariness of future deployments and to help us all understand the complexities of military life. Recommended for public libraries and essential for libraries on or near military bases.
—Erica L. Foley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602392946
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/6/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Melissa Seligman writes at home when she's not caring for her two young children. Her husband is in the U.S. Army. She and her family live in Clarksville, Tennessee, just outside Fort Campbell Army Base.
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Customer Reviews

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